One Year Later

One year ago this week, I got really sick. Throughout the year, I’ve only gotten worse physically. It’s *hard* to live one day to the next right now.

“But! I don’t like to think about it in those terms. I don’t like to think about most things in the way that us earthly beings normally think about things… ;) God’s way of thinking is much better! So, instead I dwell on the fact that I’ve had a year of intense training of what it is to be utterly dependent on God for every step of the way. I’ve had a year of getting to clearly see HIS strength, because I have none of my own, and yet each day is a miracle when I can get out of bed and function somewhat normally. I’ve had a year of learning what it is to glorify God in every aspect of my life, regardless of situation or how *I* think my life should look.”

(I wrote the above in an email to a blog reader, and it was such a joy to realize the beauty that comes even in such hard times as these. Thank you, Jesus!)

A life of miracles.

I posted the below, and then was spending some time in prayer, and I wanted to come back and clarify some things: (And spend some more time praising the Lord, because . . . how can I not? ;) )

Though my earthly body is decaying (aren’t we all?), I am in Christ and being renewed day by day IN HIM. There is no worry or fear in my life–there cannot be, because that is not walking in the light. And where God is, there can be no darkness for He cannot dwell with darkness.

I am walking forward in full faith and the knowledge of Truth. I want to give no room to the enemy by placing any importance or headline space to that which is not true, pure, right, clean, praise-worthy, virtuous, of good report, and full of Jesus.

Rejoice, my friends, for we have hope. We have Light. We have Life…and that more abundantly! And again, I say, rejoice!

LIVING in HIM,
Grace

*******

Original Post:

My physical body is dying.

I don’t talk about it in such blunt terms very much publicly (nor, as someone said to me earlier when I mentioned it to them, do I mention it much privately). And I probably won’t mention it much again on this blog after this.

I don’t mean to sound as though I’m merely resigned to the inevitable, or like I’m trying to get a reaction. Neither is true…far from it!

I serve a God who is in complete control and never messes up and has already gained the victory over all, and I rest joyfully in that. It’s a “peace which passes understanding”, really.

My whole life for the past 7-ish months has been completely supernatural from one day to the next. I honestly feel like I’ve been living a miracle every day.

When I was able to continue working and keeping up with responsibilities of life in spite of what I was facing, that was a miracle. When I was able to continue getting out of bed each morning, that was a miracle. When I couldn’t do anything without help, but still had a smile on my face and joy in my heart, that was a miracle.

And it still is. Even these days when I barely make it out of bed–I’m still living a miracle.

And I love it.

I don’t love being sick and in pain day after day or being faced with the fact that my physical body is dying, but as I’ve said on this blog many times: Anything that brings me to my knees before my Saviour is a beautiful thing and something for which I’m thankful.

Living a life of miracles from one moment to the next, well . . . I’m not sure I can truly put words to what it’s like. I wish everyone could know what it’s like–seeing Christ the way I do from day to day. And I long to see and know more of Him every day. More of You in my life, Lord!

Even though I whined all day yesterday about how I wish my birthday would wait to show up until I’m healthy, the inevitable can’t be stopped. ;)

Today, 25 years ago, I was born for a purpose: to glorify God. And what an honor it is to carry such a job description!

I know this may seem like a depressing post to write on one’s birthday–revealing these things about how my physical health is doing. Oh! but it’s not. I’m excited about what the Lord is doing and I’m thrilled to see each and every day just how faithful He truly is!

I’m not perfect. I get weary in the battle sometimes and turn inward–taking my eyes off the One who is in control. I give into discouragement and fear sometimes. I whine and cry in frustration.

But He so gently reminds me of truth over and over. And truth never changes. The promises of the Lord never result in failure. Victory is His! Even death is swallowed up in that victory!

And so it is, here on my birthday as I lay in bed, too weak to do much more than this, that I cry out “I love You, Lord!”

(I realize this may come as a shock to some of you, and there are probably a lot of question marks dancing around in front of you right now as to what is actually going on with me physically since this may be the first you’ve heard of me being sick. I don’t want you to worry or come up with made-up ideas as to what may be going on. If you want to know a few more details, please feel free to email me at acrossfields@gmail.com …don’t just sit there thinking the worst! :) Please know that I do have hope of recovery and the Lord has already granted much wisdom and guidance in everything–doctors, friends, insights, supplements, testing, and the like.)

{musings}

(If you all only knew the amount of unpublished draft posts I have on this blog right now.)

Do you ever have times where things (everything, seemingly!) are just too precious and close to your heart to share? That’s what’s been going on with me lately, and I’m not complaining about it. I love these precious times more than anything else. These precious times of growing closer to the Lord and seeing Him more and more. 

Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with who the Lord is. I catch the smallest glimmer of His greatness and I’m speechless in awe. And then I see a little more. And then I see a little more. And I never want to stop gazing at Him–even though it is merely the smallest portion of the hem of His garment that I’ve even glimpsed so far. What beauty, majesty, radiance, and truth there is! My little human mind is not capable of comprehension in this regard.

My little sister was with me in the office the other day, and we were discussing the reading of the Bible. She asked how many times I’ve read the whole Bible, and after I told her, she asked another question:

“So, do you know everything there is to know about God and the Bible?”

I laughed as tears of joy filled my eyes.

“No, sweet one,” I said, “there is no end to what we can know of Him! That is the beauty of it all! I could spend every single moment for the rest of my life, and for a thousand years after that, in deep study of who God is and intimately in His presence, and still I would never know all of Him. What blessedness is ours!”

She looked slightly doubtful at such wild statements, but . . . grinned and continued playing.

Have you seen Him? Have you caught a vision of the Master Savior? It’s captivating like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. 

Do you know Him?

There’s been some fairly serious revamping of my life lately because of what I’ve recently been seeing and learning of God. When you see Him, your life doesn’t stay the same, and for that I am unendingly grateful. 

Some of the changes taking place are easy and comfortable. Some of them are quite the opposite. But it is all for Him and His renown . . . and when I think in those terms? The things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

He is worthy.

These words are so trite, but I realized the other day that, when talking about the great King of kings, mere human words will always be trite and cliche. He is the King of kings, after all, and is completely outside the realm of human language to describe. 

What beautiful words and languages there must be in Heaven to use to worship and describe Him! …because my ordinary English sure falls majorly short.

Image

Wednesday Evening at The Local Coffee Shop

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. But, since I’m sitting here on this cozy Wednesday evening with this dear friend of mine, I thought it high time.

Oh, what a joy it is to have this wonderful young lady in my life as one of my dearest friends. Love you, Larsie.

So, here we sit. Same coffee shop as all those old coffee shop posts, and it seems that not much has changed around here in the past couple years since I first started writing about it.

There’s a couple happily playing cards together across the room.

Over on the couch, a chappy with Very Cool dark-rimmed glasses has been playing on his phone for longer than I’ve been able to keep track of. He has his ear-buds in, and every so often he really gets into his music. But then he seems to catch himself, glance around to see if anyone noticed, and then go back to placidly scrolling around on his phone.

My homeless friend is still here. Actually, I can’t verify for sure that it’s the same one I ran into a couple years ago, but I like to think of all homeless people (and non-homeless people, for that matter) as my friends–so my initial statement of this paragraph is true, nonetheless. He was eating what appeared to be a cup of soup when we first arrived, and he’s now comfortably sacked out on the couch behind me, snoozing away in one of the few warm places he’s probably allowed to hang out for hours on end. I’m glad they let him stay and get comfortable and warm.

There’s a sweet friend across the table from me, as I mentioned earlier, and she’s editing photos for some articles she’s working on designing. She’s shown me a handful of them, and oh my! they’re wonderful! I had the privilege of taking her engagement photos earlier this week–much fun was had, and perhaps, just perhaps, I shall share a sneak peek or two here on the blog at some point. (If she lets me, of course. I won’t do the sappy ones, Lars… ;) )

And then there are the random folks studying, working on homework, chatting away comfortably in corners. Typical coffee-shop type stuff, you know.

Oh! Something has changed since I was last here! My super-cool friend, Abby, now works here part-time. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing her at work, but . . . I’m determined to make it happen before too long! 

This evening has been one of peaceful studying and prayer. I’ve been doing a study on the purity of God, and I can’t even put it into words right now–I’m captivated with the One I call my King and Saviour. He is mighty and powerful, and He is pure. What a glorious truth! Perhaps once I have basked in and been submerged in the reality of the purity of God for awhile, I might be able to put some words to what I’ve been learning. For now, though? Oh, Jesus, how I love You!

If I were to spend every moment of every day for the rest of my life on this earth in the study and pursuit of God, I would never reach the end of His greatness. And yet, after even just one evening, I’m completely captivated and awe-struck. It makes me think–what a glorious place heaven must be! To be in the very near and tangible presence of the King of kings for eternity without end. To see Him, to know Him, to worship at His feet! What we know on this earth is just a bare taste of who He is–and yet, what a beautiful taste it is!

I can’t wait to know Him more and more!

Rest in HIM

The Lord is teaching me to say with the Psalmist, “I delight to do Thy will,” instead of the usual, “Well, I supposed it’s the Lord’s will so we’ll just have to put up with it.”

Oh, the delirium of consciously being in the will of the Master–what joy! And this brings a knowledge of His presence and this affords rest.

“My presence shall go with thee, and I shall give thee rest.”

– The Shadow of the Almighty –

Jesus, I my cross have taken.

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

-Henry Lyte

Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God. – Jim Elliot

Oh, how much this quote describes my life. I have fallen willingly into the “easy life” of just being “normal”. But I claim to be hidden in the very life of Christ, and to have Him dwelling in me…how can I be “normal” while truly living that?

I was reading in Katie Davis’ book and this cute interlude between her and one of her children popped out at me (this is slightly paraphrased because I don’t have the book right here with me)–

‘One of my girls asked me: “If I ask Jesus into my heart, will I explode?” I laughingly replied with “No, of course not!” and then I rethought my answer: “Yes, if Jesus comes into your heart, you will explode.” That is exactly what we should do if Jesus comes to live inside our hearts. We will explode with love, with compassion, with hurt for those who are hurting, and with joy for those who rejoice. We will explode with a desire to be more, to be better, to be close to the one who made us.’ -Katie Davis

When we enter into Christ and He enters into us, it is an exchange–His life for ours. Our life for HIS. It is not a joining of two lives. God is not coming in and joining up with our old life. He comes in and ravishes our life and completely overtakes us….this is how it should be, anyway. We are to be dead to self–our old man absolutely eradicated. Exchanged for the life of CHRIST.

“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him.” Psalm 4:3

Set apart: to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished
to be wonderful
to make separate, set apart

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

There are areas of life where in this world we are to be extraordinary–but in the heavenly realms, these things are to be the norm.

In our world, it is normal to worry about things that aren’t looking so great. But as a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be anxious for nothing.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do live a “good life” and just not do “bad things”. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to continually “examine [ourselves], whether [we] be in the faith” and to “be perfect as [HE] is perfect.” In our earthly terms, to truly live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do get upset about things, wish our circumstances were different than they really are, to get discouraged at our situations in life, to shy away from pain and persecutions. As a new creation in Christ, set apart for Him, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say, REJOICE!” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is normal and even wise to have a backup plan, in case God doesn’t come through (although we wouldn’t actually put it in those terms). We specifically plan for “plan B” to kick in. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are to have Christ as our all in all–and once we put our hand to the plow, we are not to even glance back. We are called to extreme faith (“without wavering!”) in the One who has called us–“for He is faithful that promised.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do hold a grievance against another when they have specifically wronged you, we feel justified in holding onto our offenses. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to forgive, even as the Heavenly Father has forgiven us–completely and utterly, without even a remembrance of any wrong done. In our earthly terms, to live this way is beyond extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to become panicked in a time of crisis. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to “be still and know that [He] is God.” The disciples, when panicking over looking death right in the face, are rebuked: “…why are you fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” In our earthly terms, to live this way is extraordinary.

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to depend on ourselves and our own strength–we are so often specifically even raised this way in our culture. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to have complete and utter dependence on God, in absolutely every single aspect of our lives. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary (and is usually seen as stupid!).

In our world, it is the normal thing to do to take time for ourselves, to make our own self feel better, to have “down time”, to pat ourselves on the back for all the good we’ve done and reward ourselves with some time for ourselves. As a new creation in God, set apart for Him, we are called to live as if our lives are not our own–because, indeed, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are not our own. In our earthly terms, to live this is seen as extraordinary.

There are so many more such examples.

The point is that these things should not be extraordinary in the life of Christ–living as the life of God requires of us should be the normal for a life surrendered fully to God. But if the world looks at us as “normal”, we have much to be concerned about!

We are to be showcasing a new creation. A creation made exquisitely by the Master Creator Himself!

True godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the only explanation for you, is Jesus Christ to whose eternally unchanging and altogether adequate “I AM!” your heart has learned to say with unshatterable faith, “Thou art!” – Major Ian Thomas

If we are holding onto parts and pieces of our life for any reason, then we have not yet grasped the fullness of the Gospel. When we’ve truly seen Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there is no holding back from giving Him our all…but it should be completely outside of anything we or anyone else may personally receive–it is because this is what the life and death of Christ requires of those claiming His name: abandonment of self and all you once held dear.

And it is with great excitement and willingness that this takes place, because we have seen that He is worthy!

If there are still parts of us that are living “to and for ourselves”, where does full surrender then come into the picture?

Full surrender doesn’t come into the picture . . . it is the picture.

It is not ordinary to desire to be spilled out for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to be willing to be looked on as being a fool for the sake of Christ. It is not ordinary to get excited at the thought of dying for Christ’s sake. It is not ordinary to love Jesus more than life itself.

But this is what a life surrendered to an extraordinary God compels us to.

So, I say again with Jim Elliot:

“Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God.”

When one is captivated by and allows their life to be ravished and overtaken by so extraordinary a God, they become a “one-note wonder”. JESUS.

JESUS.

JESUS.

That is the cry of my heart. The refrain of my life. And I want that to be the only cry of my heart for the rest of my days–that every breath I breathe would proclaim

JESUS.

Make me ever more dependent on you, Lord. I need you desperately.

We are commissioned to represent Christ! To bear the very name, to bear the very image and reputation of God Almighty!

Don’t pray that God would teach you how to love like He loves; pray that He would fill you with Himself and that He would love in and through you. Don’t pray that He would teach you to have joy; pray that the living God full of joy would enter into you. Don’t pray that He would teach you how to be peaceful; ask for the God of peace, the Prince of peace to infill you. Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works because it is Him imitating Himself, and He is very good at being God. -Eric Ludy

Tonight’s Thoughts

Tonight is a night where everything is so still that I can almost palpably feel the nearness of my Jesus.

Tonight He is whispering to my heart with words of love and truth.

Tonight I am grieving over my own hardness of heart.

Tonight I am thankful for weakness and pain.

Tonight I am unable to sleep because of the aching in my heart.

Tonight is a night of peace and contentment; a night of longing and searching.

Tonight is a night of sweet worship in adoration of my beloved King.

Tonight is the sort of night I’d love to be taking a ramble in the woods, peeking up into the stars above between the branches of the trees, reveling in the majesty of creation.

Tonight, the cry of my heart is “Desiderio Domini!” (“I dearly long to be with my Lord”)

Tonight I am thankful. So very thankful.

Tonight I am realizing afresh my own unworthiness, and the utter worthiness of my God.

Tonight the tears are falling as I pray for my brother who does not yet know the reality of a life lived for Christ.

Tonight my arms are aching for the hugs of my dear kiddos in Africa, and the ones I’ve not yet met all over the world.

Tonight I am hungering and thirsting for more of my Jesus.

Tonight is a sweet gift from God.

Oh, what joy!

True joy is beautiful, powerful, enchanting, and unstoppable, and today I am so thankful for the joy of the Lord.

I have had the lyrics to the song “What Joy” in my head for the past several weeks, and I’ve been loving it so much, I want to share it here:

You made the heavens and the earth
The sea and all that is in it
Your promises remain
You give justice to the weak
You care for the widow and orphan
Forevermore You reign

What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone!

Hallelujah, forever we will sing
Hallelujah, praises to the King
Hallelujah, forever we will sing
Hallelujah, praises to the King

Hallelujah!

I have seen and tasted that the Lord is good, and that joy that comes from Him is unshakable no matter what happens–come what may, what joy and peace for those whose confidence and hope is in the Lord!

The joy of the Lord is strength.


the best news ever

The weather today is undeniably perfect in just about every way. At least, perfect in every way for a non-rainy, non-foggy day. Those are the best days. But for a sunny day, this is perfect.


It hasn’t gotten above 67 degrees today in the sweet little town I live in, the sun is slanting in through the tree across the yard at just the right angle to make me thrill with the knowledge that the earth is at just such a situation to proclaim “autumn!!” to this part of the world, I’m drinking Twining’s Earl Grey tea out of a lovely green mug that some dear girls gave me a week or two ago when I was really sick, I’ve gotten lots of things accomplished today in spite of feeling quite ill (I blame the crazy amounts of antibiotics I’m on–those things kill), and I got my camera out!

I’m one blessed girl.

Do you ever feel like you couldn’t love Jesus any more than you do at that very moment. And yet the very next moment you are filled with an even deeper adoration for Him. And you just want to fall down and worship at His feet, while simultaneously you are hardly able to contain yourself from shouting His name to anyone who might hear. And you feel like you’re about to burst, and you can’t stop yourself from talking about Him to everyone you lay eyes on?

That’s me today.

I wish I could say that that was me everyday. Why do I want to tell my curly hair secrets to every girl I see who has curly hair that could use some help, but I’m not willing to tell people I see who obviously don’t know Jesus about the One who loves them more than anyone could possibly love anyone? Why am I scared of what people will think of me? I look at myself sometimes and am ashamed that I’ll make a fool of myself for so many other reasons–I get the urge to sing loudly in the aisle of Wal-Mart, and you couldn’t stop me if you tried. I tell a random stranger at the drinking fountain “don’t drink all of it!” and they look at me like I’m crazy. I hug total strangers in the grocery store. I go weeks and months without shampooing my hair (curly hair secret alert!) and people think I’ve gone totally crunchy/granola. And I don’t care what anyone thinks of me in those situations. And yet I find myself unwilling to talk to the person in line behind me at the grocery store about the Love of my life. Why?

I refuse to continue on like this. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. If I am truly in love with Him, how could I help but tell everyone I know about the One whom my soul loves?

It’s been frustrating to me, because the desire is there to talk about Him freely to those who may not feel the same way about my King as I do, and yet I’ve allowed fear in this area to rule my life.

It cannot be.

I’m proclaiming to the world at large right now that I have found my soul-Husband. I have fallen deeply in love with the Creator of the universe. He is mine, and I am His. I want to be a fool for His sake. I want people to know that I’m completely captivated and have eyes only for Him. I don’t care what people think about me.

And I’m also here to proclaim to the world at large that the little town I live in better watch out. They’re going to hear about the One my heart is totally ravished by, because I can’t keep silent any longer! I want everyone around me to know without a doubt where my affections lie. I want them to personally know the One who holds the world in His hand. I want them to experience the love of a perfect Father. I want them to realize that there is victory! Oh, there is little doubt in my mind as to why the gospel is called the good news!

And yet I think there could be a better term for it.

The best, most exciting, awe-inspiring, beautiful, majestic, freeing, adoration-producing, life-changing news that ever fell upon human ear.

How could I not want to share that with every single person I come across? I have a treasure, and I want to share it.